Adapting our training and support for the Big Seaweed Search in Mexico | Community Science

A workshop facilitator and student in a classroom, preserving speciments for a seaweed collection.

In this blog I want to tell you about the amazing work my colleague Ana is doing with our colleagues from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM): Ameyalli, Arely, Carmen and Erika.

For every community science programme we run at the Museum, we provide training and guidance to help people take part. This will be tailored according to the programme and audience. This means that training will sometimes be delivered in person, sometimes we produce written resources, and sometimes we develop video tutorials, for example.

In Mexico, our colleagues delivered training workshops in Sisal and Puerto Morelos in March and April respectively, and have recently returned from delivering workshops in the same locations, but in the rainy season.

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Compromises and trade-offs in adapting the Big Seaweed Search in Mexico | Community Science

A participant in Big Seaweed Search Mexico collecting specimens on the beach from a quadrat square.

Hola! It’s been a busy two months since I last blogged to introduce the Big Seaweed Search (BSS) in Mexico. Today I want to continue by describing the programme that the team has created for BSS in Mexico, highlighting some of the differences with the programme in the UK and discussing some of the compromises and trade-offs we made when adapting the project to a new country.

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Introducing Big Seaweed Search Mexico! | Community Science

I’m Jess Wardlaw, Community Science Programme Developer at the Museum. I’m excited to be working together with my Museum colleagues, Juliet Brodie, Lucy Robinson and Ana Benavides Lahnstein, on a new international partnership project funded by the British Academy’s Knowledge Frontiers programme.

Alongside partners at the University of Greenwich’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI) and the Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores (ENES) from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), in Merida, Mexico, we are excited to be taking our Big Seaweed Search community science project to new shorelines…Mexico’s Caribbean and Yucatán coasts, which are part of the Yucatán Peninsula!

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City Nature Challenge 2022: Results and Highlights | Community Science

A round of applause for everyone that took part in City Nature Challenge this year! Between 29 April and 2 May, over 300 community scientists across London recorded a grand total of 4,436 observations of 1,087 species! You can view everybody’s findings in the iNaturalist project.  

Thanks are also due to the 338 naturalists in London and around the world that helped to identify the observations made during City Nature Challenge, validating over half of the observations in London to research grade records. With their quality assurance, these records can be used for the study of global urban biodiversity and conservation efforts. 

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City Nature Challenge: Species to Spot | Citizen Science

There are so many ways to take part in City Nature Challenge it can be difficult to know where to start if you are new to observing nature. Observations of any living things count towards City Nature Challenge but here are six species that Museum scientists and friends are particularly interested in. If you see any of these let us know by taking a photograph and uploading to iNaturalist. Photographs and identification tips are also available as a downloadable Species to Spot guide (PDF 330KB). 

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Take the City Nature Challenge! | Citizen Science

The City Nature Challenge returns to London for a fourth year! 

Over the last year many of us have had the chance to explore our local areas like never before. What have you spotted on your daily walks? Have you seen plants popping up in unexpected places, or is there a particular tree that you have watched transform through the seasons, or an unusual insect you have observed in your nearest park? 

Whatever it is, we want you to share what you have seen and join this year’s City Nature Challenge. 

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Thanks for taking part in the Plant Club BioBlitz! | Citizen Science

A big thank you to everyone who took part in the Plant Club BioBlitz! Over two weeks we made 725 observations of 313 species across the UK. We had observations from car parks in Portsmouth, pavements in Leeds and London, people’s gardens, and even clifftops in Cornwall and the Outer Hebrides. You can view all our observations on iNaturalist.

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Discover plants near you with the Plant Club BioBlitz!

Sometimes plants can be easy to miss. But when we take time to look a little closer, we see how exciting and important they really are!  

As part of the Museum’s Family Festival, the Citizen Science Team invite you to join the Plant Club virtual BioBlitz, to take a closer look at plants and discover which grow near you. Look closely at the shapes and textures of leaves and flowers and use the resources on our BioBlitz webpage to help you to tell different plants apart. 

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Bee-flies are back! | Citizen Science

Have you seen any bee-flies in your garden? Bee-flies look rather like bees but are actually true flies (Diptera). They have round, furry bodies and a long proboscis (tongue) held out straight. The proboscis can sometimes cause alarm but they do not bite or sting and just use it to drink nectar from spring flowers, often while hovering. Flowers with long nectar tubes such as primroses and lungworts are particular favourites, and bee-flies are likely to be important pollinators of these.

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Bee-fly feeding from a primrose flower. Photo by Vlad Proklov, via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

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